Sports

Otabor fourth at NCAAs; other Bahamians wrap up competitions

A total of eight Bahamians were in action at the 2022 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships which wrapped up on Saturday at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA – the same venue for this year’s World Athletics (WA) World Championships.

After Texas Tech Red Raiders’ sophomore Terrence Jones and Clemson Tigers’ freshman Wanya McCoy bowed out of their individual sprint events on Wednesday, Bahamian females were in action on Thursday.

Arguably, the most dynamic performance came from Florida International University (FIU) sophomore thrower Rhema Otabor in the women’s javelin. The Bahamas’ junior national record holder and school record holder finished fourth overall in the women’s javelin with a toss of 55.92 meters (m) – 183’ 5” – just off her personal best throw of 56.25m (184’ 6”).

Otabor was in the bronze medal position for much of the competition but was passed in the fifth round by Madison Wiltrout, a junior from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Brigham Young University (BYU) senior Ashton Riner won the competition with a toss of 58.24m (191’ 1”), Nebraska sophomore Maddie Harris was second with a throw of 57.69m (189’ 3”) and Wiltrout rounded out the top three with a toss of 56.46m (185’ 3”).

With the performance, Otabor earned first-team All-American honors, helping the FIU Panthers to conclude its 2022 outdoor track and field campaign on a strong note. Otabor became the first FIU track and field athlete since Clarissa Cutliff in 2018 and 2019 to appear in consecutive NCAA Outdoor Championships.

She finished 21st overall in 2021 with a best toss of 49.60m (162’ 9”).

“We’re so proud of Rhema and all that she has accomplished this season,” said FIU Head Coach Ryan Heberling. “She’s also just scratching the surface of how good she can be. Right now though, it’s a moment she worked so hard for and deserved.”

In the women’s 400m on Thursday, Megan Moss, a sophomore at Kentucky, finished fifth in her semifinal heat and was 15th overall in a personal best time of 51.73 seconds. She was the alternate on Kentucky’s winning 4x400m relay team which completed the 1,600m race in 3:22.55. In the semifinals, Moss ran the third leg for the team which finished second in their heat and qualified for the final with the second-fastest time of 3:25.67.

Also on Thursday, Doneisha Anderson ran in the 4x400m heats for the University of Florida. The Florida Gators’ junior ran the third leg for her team which finished second in their semifinal heat and qualified for the final in 3:28.40. In the final on Saturday, Anderson ran the second leg and the Gators finished ninth in 3:31.16.

The Gators won both the men and women’d team titles, finishing with 54 and 74 points, respectively. The University of Texas at Austin Longhorns were second in both the men and women with 38 and 64 points, respectively.

Finally among Bahamian women, Charisma Taylor was scheduled to compete in the triple jump event, but the Tennessee Volunteers junior did not start.

On Friday, Ohio State University freshman Shaun Miller Jr. and Kansas State University senior Kyle Alcine were in action in the final of the men’s high jump.

Miller had a best leap of 2.15m (7’ 0-1/2”) and finished ninth overall, just missing first-team All-American honors. He made the second team. Miller had one knockdown at his opening height of 2.10m (6’ 10-3/4”), cleared the bar on his first attempt at 2.15m, and then knocked the bar down all three times at 2.18m (7’ 1-3/4”).

Alcine finished in a four-way tie for 15th, clearing 2.10m before knocking the bar down all three times at 2.15m.

The four-day meet, featuring the best collegiate athletes in the United States, wrapped up on Saturday. 

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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